Tea has long been touted as disease fighter and metabolism booster, but there are key difference among popular varieties. No matter which tea you opt for, however, new research has found that if you add milk to it, you’re counteracting many of its benefits. Further, you’ll want to make sure to steep your teas for no more than five minutes; many of the health benefits stem from tea’s level of antioxidant-rich catechins, a level which is lowered if the tea is over-brewed. Green and white teas should be steeped in water that's slightly below boiling. Lastly, add spices like nutmeg and cinnamon or lemon instead of sugar. Citrus has been shown to boost the antioxidant power of catechins, while spices are metabolism-boosting and antioxidant-rich in their own right.
Now that you're up to speed on how to get the most antioxidants out of your tea, here's a look at what sets the most popular varieties apart and which tea is best for you.
Known for its ability to help with appetite control, green tea contains a phytonutrient, EGCG, that increases the hormone CCK, which gives you a feeling of satiation. Green tea has also been shown to increase metabolism, have antiviral properties that may help fight common ailments like colds and help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and strokes.
Antioxidant-rich, Rooibos is caffeine-free and has been shown to help ease anxiety, allergies and digestive problems. It's also thought to reduce the risk of heart disease and help fight signs of aging.
Countless studies have shown that oolong can help you lose weight by boosting metabolism and thereby helping you burn fat faster. It's also been linked to a reduced rick of cardiovascular disease.
Known for its ability to alleviate allergy symptoms, Nettle tea is a go-to when suffering from runny noses, sneezing or teary eyes.
Black tea, which has the highest level of caffeine, has been shown to have a host of benefits ranging from protecting lungs from cigarette smoke and inhibiting bacteria growth in the mouth, to reducing the risk of stroke and diabetes.
White tea is less processed than most other forms of tea so it's thought to have the strongest anticancer properties. It also contains ECGC, which has been shown to help prevent new fat cells from forming and fights signs of aging.
A South American tea derived from the dried leaves of the mate plant, yerba mate has been used for centuries as a medicinal beverage. It contains a compound called mateine (chemically similar to caffeine, but doesn’t give you the same crash), known to boost both metabolism and energy levels. Studies have also found that this tea can help with fatigue, bone density, appetite control and that it can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and support liver function.